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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Comedy Scripts  /  The Gig
Posted by: Don, March 15th, 2018, 5:50pm
The Gig by Martin Samoylov - Comedy - Two amateur filmmakers get hired to direct a film. They get excited until they realize that what they're directing is terrorist propaganda. 93 pages

synopsis - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Posted by: HyperMatt, March 31st, 2018, 5:37pm; Reply: 1
This is a difficult one for me. I had a lot of issues with the characters and the story, but I later in the piece realised that this is a slapstick piece, somewhere between Naked Gun and Steve Martinís LA Story. So a lot of those things are deliberate choices by you guysÖ I mean yourself (I kept thinking this script was written by two writers because it is about two writers).
I think there is still a lot of issues despite that.  
About the right length. Nice and compact.
The camaraderie between Ed and Richie was quite good. You really feel these two boys really care for each other.
I have a lot of issues with the character interactions. But for some reason I really liked Izaan. I donít know why. Maybe it was the simplicity of his despicableness and capitalism. Thatís a really good line on when he talks about. For some reason he reminds me of Charles Dance in Last Action Hero. On Page 67. He has a great speech and makes a good point, ĎIzaan cares about one thing, money And having fun, just like every other American! Iím more American than you!í Liked his wife. Thatís a perfect villain for this kind of comedy.
In a story that should be very complex, there is something very sweet in the simplicity of it all, and the love between Ed and Richie.
If you were to decide to rewrite this, I would play up the Islamic Fundamentalist angle, there is a lot of meat there, and that would be quite an interesting story. The terrorist threat at the moment is very generic, and does not feel it really cracks a wallop. Even in slapstick your villains need to be threatening. I think Izaan and his donors have to be more Islamic fundamentalist like, they need to have those little jihadi qualities, at least when they are in their own meetings, lot of humour in the way those dumbasses present themselves

I donít know why that scene of Richie and Ed arming themselves in a supermarket remind of a similar scene in the Lost Boys.

My biggest issues is the tone. It moves from slapstick to serious. The whole MERC thing is played for slapstick laughs, but then we get this serious stuff in the relationship between Richie and Ed, where Ed is trying to let go and bring them too reality. There are some deep serious conversations here, whether it is worth pursuing screenwriting as a career, year after year, quite inspiring really. Mixed with the slapstick stuff, itís like putting new wine into old wineskins, they donít seem a good fit.
I donít know if this is an idea that you should pursue, this may be just a learning script (Iíve got loads of those). The idea of screenwriters trying to sell a script I donít think personally would play well on public level. Only scriptwriters likes us are really interested in that kind of thing, unless you want to make one of those. The days of the 2 million dollar script seem to have gone out with the days of Joe Esterhaz and Showgirls. (although there have been occasional big script deals), but these are terrorists wanting world domination so I guess they have the funds.
I would take out a lot of the frustrated screenwriter stuff. That stuff is interesting to us but not Joe Public.
Why do script within a script stories have to be so bad, even in a comedy? Iím referring to the cat running for public office. Can you see that being greenlighted?
A lot of the dialogue is what they refer to as Ďon the noseí. A lot is said that does not need to be said. But this is where I got confused, because you could be doing this deliberately because of the tone. The characters saying what has happened, like Izaan explaining to his donors that he is letting Ed and Richie direct because they have sold shit, we know that already. The one that really sticks out is when the two protagonist find out that they are making terrorist propaganda, a scene that should have little dialogue and be about emotional hurt, we have this:
I was really getting excited for

Me too. This really brings my
enthusiasm from 100 to like... 5.
I hope the actors won't feel it.
This is not how friends interact when they have just found out their greatest dreams have been dashed.
(this is a really interesting video on dialogue . a lot of stuff should be told in other ways, especially the M.E.L.C. stuff.
Regarding the plot to upload the movie, maybe that would have worked a decade ago, but couldnít Izaan just upload the movie to iCloud or something?

There are typos aplenty. I would sort these out before entering any competitions or anything).
Pg. 59 Ė A number of men or security should be in caps.
Pg. 27 - Youíve put IZAAN duh! Izaan is middle eastern. Should be under RICHIE
Pg.28 - Do hotels have bunk beds?
Pg. 63 Ė Rubics should be Rubiks cube.
Pg. 71-  my faut should be my fault
Pg. 76 -  out driver?  should be our driver?
Pg. 79 - solider should be soldier.
Pg. 83 - Ed says ĎI did ití it is unnecessary to have that dialogue here
PG. 88 - Good that comes which your work, should be Ďwithí your work.

If I was a studio head, I donít think Iíd greenlight this, no matter it strengths, I feel it would be too nuanced for the cinema going public, thinking films about making films are boring. But I wouldnít have greenlight LA Confidential either. Now that sounds brutal, but that is just me. I am being honest.
The connection to Dunkirk may be too strong, but it is clearly a strong influence on our two heroes. You would think they donít watch any other films.
The fake Russian cab driver turning out to be an American agent at the end seems too neat and convenient.

The scenes in the climax with the security guards laughing at Russian videos may be a bit too slapstick. Can Izaan just wipe pepper spray off his face, wouldnít he be severely weakened?

This is a way before being ready for presentation.
Thatís it. I wouldnít rewrite, I would take this as one of your learning scripts and focus on new scripts. Donít be like me, developing one script year after year. But what do I know? Iíve never sold a script. I am trying to find out how long writers took to right their features, I would be really interested to find out how long it took you to wrote this.

Posted by: HyperMatt, March 31st, 2018, 8:06pm; Reply: 2
I forgot to mention that I like the intro voice over with the L A skyline. Kind of reminded me of intro of Woody Allen's Manhatten.
Posted by: MartinS, April 1st, 2018, 1:06pm; Reply: 3
Hello Matthew,

thank you so much for reading and providing feedback! I really appreciate it! The script actually went through some rewrites already. (I was thinking of letting Don know so that he could change the link, guess I should have acted faster).

The newest draft can be found here:

I've changed quite a number of things. I changed the donors to Izaan's mother and added some montages and some more time on set. Plus I rewrote a lot of action and fixed a number of crazy typos, some of which you pointed out. (You pointed out some I hadn't seen though, so thank you for that! I can't believe I wrote "Richie's Office" in a scene heading.) Lee appearing is also changed a bit. But for the most part the script is the same as the one you've read, just with a lot of stuff fixed and some stuff added. Sorry I didn't post that before.

"but couldnít Izaan just upload the movie to iCloud or something?"

That's... what he was doing? In pg. 47 in the earlier version, pg. 50 in the new one, Izaan says "Oh yes! About to be sent into the cloud and shared with dozens of
people, where it can never be deleted!"

If that wasn't clear to you then that's a problem with the script which I should definitely address. Sorry.

It's funny. I got feedback from one guy who said I should up the filmmaking part and cut some of the jihadi/political stuff. You however are the opposite, you prefer the jihadi jokes and would like to see that included more. ;D I've tried to address this a bit, if you look at the new draft and see page 27/28, you sort-of see some more jihadi dialogue Izaan added while they're talking with Lee on the set.

I had similar thoughts about whether Joe Public would be interested. Then I thought- well I'm Joe Public. I see movies which discuss specific industries all the time. And I enjoy them. So I thought this might be a unique thing to do- write something from the eyes of two unsuccessful screenwriters.

"This is not how friends interact when they have just found out their greatest dreams have been dashed. "

So the idea is that Richie's dreams haven't been dashed. He still wants to do this and get the money. It's Ed that's making the righteous move there. Do you maybe have ideas to present that more clearly and without lacking emotions?

I know that on-the-nose dialogue is an issue with me, I've heard that from virtually every feedback I got. I'm still not 100% sure how to fix that. People just say 'go out listen to people', but that's not really helpful. I'll check that video out, thanks!

There is definitely some element of slapstick and weirdness/randomness there as that's the kind of comedy I enjoy, but there is also meant to be a real drama with Ed and Richie wanting to be filmmakers as you've pointed out. I hear you that those might not always fit well together. Do you know if there might be a technique to "glue them together" so that they do fit?

Thank you again for reading! I really, really appreciate it! If you'd like me to ready one of your scripts, just email it over at I'd be happy to provide some feedback! :)

I want to focus on other scripts as well, but to do that I first want to know what was wrong with this script which is one of the reasons I've been rewriting it and asking feedback for it. If I just constantly put out broken scripts without ever realizing the issues with the previous one, I'd be pretty much in a hamster wheel. I wrote about half of it in a day and the other half over several weeks/months. Much of the plot and the characters came over those weeks/months. Then the revisions came over some weeks as well. Mostly over weekends and at nights.

The way I see it is that many screenwriters are like Ed and Richie. They virtually never sell their stuff. It's the actions they do in life that really matter. At least that's one of the messages I tried to put into the story.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and provide feedback! I really appreciate people like you who voluntarily try to help other writers!
Posted by: HyperMatt, April 1st, 2018, 1:20pm; Reply: 4
No problemo.
Posted by: HyperMatt, April 1st, 2018, 1:41pm; Reply: 5
Regarding the on the nose dialogue thing. I have that problem as well. You could try just cutting out the dialog and seeing how the scene plays without it.
Posted by: HyperMatt, April 6th, 2018, 5:56pm; Reply: 6
I take it back about films about screenwriting not being interesting. I just saw the Rewrite with Hugh Grant, that was an enjoyable movie.
Posted by: MartinS, April 6th, 2018, 8:30pm; Reply: 7
Thanks for the suggestion! Just looking at the cast it has both J. Jonah Jameson and Aunt May in it!
Posted by: HyperMatt, April 7th, 2018, 1:24pm; Reply: 8
And Aunt May looks much sexier than she did 50 years ago!
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